Saturday, March 20, 2010

Noah's Birth Story

My sweet baby boy turned 19 weeks old on Thursday... oh my!  And, it's only taken me this long to write out my birth story.  I am kicking myself in the tail for not doing this sooner because I am sure I have forgotten a lot of specifics.  But, I wanted to be sure to have it in writing so I wont forget even more as time goes by.  It has brought back so many emotions reliving those several days, and I am even more grateful today for the story that was created. So, here it is!  (and it's long... sorry!)

Tuesday, November 3 (you know it's going to be a long birth story when it starts with a DAY, not a time...)
Because I was so far along (41wks, 5 days to be exact), we had a biophyiscal profile (sonogram) scheduled to check and see how our little guy was doing.  I was a nervous wreck and did not sleep well at ALL the night before...  I did not want to hear that we needed to induce labor (meaning I would have to go to the hospital for Noah's birth. ) So, I spent a lot of time in prayer and a lot of time staring at my eyelids waiting for the morning to arrive. 
We went to the birth center around 9:30 and got started right away.  Ann (our midwife) joked with the sonographer that he is her good luck charm... every time he does a biophysical profile on one of her mommas, they go into labor within 24 hours, and hopefully we would not be an exception to this rule!  He looked at several things... and scored Noah (similar to how they score the Apgar on newborns) pretty well.  He got all of his "points" with the exception of his breathing points.  Babies practice breathing in the womb until about 48-72hrs before they plan on making their entrance to the world.  So, all in all, Noah looked great.  When I asked about his size, Ann told me "he's keeping size".  Unfortunately, she forgot that she told me in a previous appointment that this is what she tells her mommas when she thinks they have a big baby on their hands!  HA!  The sonographer told Micah Noah's weight in grams, and we figured that they were estimating him to be about 9 1/2lbs.  I had in my mind that anything under 10lbs was just fine... so I didn't worry.  However, I also knew sonograms could be off by 2lbs on either end of the scale.... THAT made me a little nervous.  Ann felt my tummy again and reassured me that she didn't think he would be more than an 8 1/2 pounder.  She gave me a bottle of Master Gland formula to have so I could start taking it on Thursday if labor still had not begun.  She gave me the option to start taking it sooner, but my dad would be getting home from a trip to South Africa on Saturday, and I did not want to do anything to jumpstart labor unless he was going to be home soon.  With that, I went home and Micah went back to work.  I have no idea what I did that day when I went home, but I know I didn't take a nap, which was a REALLY STUPID decision!

A goodie basked I prepared to bring to the birthing center... one of the several things I did while waiting!

I had been having pretty strong braxton hicks contractions for a few days, and that night (around 7) they started to get pretty intense.  I timed them, and they were actually somewhat consistant... 30-40 seconds every 7min or so.  I had not had any other labor signs, though, so I dismissed it as anything of importance.  I remember talking to my mom and telling her this, but I wasn't too excited because these contractions had been on and off for a few days.  Micah and I got ready for bed around 10:00 and right before we were about to turn out the lights I decided to use the restroom again.  When I went to the restroom, I realized I had a pretty good amount of bloody show and lost my mucous plug... both signs of impending labor.  Pair all of those things together and I knew we were finally on the road to having this baby!  I shouted to Micah "I think I am going into labor!"  I think he thought I was joking... :-) I texted Ann just to let her know that things were getting started, and she encouraged me to take a hot bath, drink a glass of wine, and try to get some sleep.  I encouraged Micah to go to sleep so if Noah was really coming, he would be rested. 

It was strange... as soon as I accepted that labor was starting the contractions started getting a little closer together and a little more intense.  I took a bath and drank a little bit of wine, but I just could not get comfortable in our excuse of a bath tub.  My entire belly was sticking out of the water and I was NOT relaxed!  So, I hopped out and climbed into bed to try to get some sleep.  The entire night my contractions ranged anywhere from a minute long and 4 minutes apart to 20 seconds long and 6-7 minutes apart.  They were not incredibly painful, but I also could not sleep through them.  I would drift off between contractions only to be awoken by my belly tightening up.  Suprisingly, the night went by pretty quickly, and Micah finally woke up.  Around 8 that morning Ann texted me to see how we were doing and I shared with her that I had been contracting all night in bed and that they were starting to get pretty regular... 60-70 sec long and every 3 minutes 30 seconds apart.  I did not to be one of those moms who went to the birth center too early... so I was determined to hold off until I thought we were getting close (looking back, that makes me laugh!!!!). I had a contraction while I was talking to her and had to pass the phone to Micah, so we decided to get things together and head to the birth center. I was really looking forward to be able to soak in their big tub and get a little relief, and maybe even fall asleep for a few minutes here and there.

Wednesday, November 4
My bags had been packed for two weeks, so we didnt have much to do.  Until I picked up my bag and realized that my stupid lovely cat PEED on a piece of paper that was sitting on top of it (my call list, actually).  I was so irritated!!  I did my best to pack ANOTHER bag between my contractions, and we were set to go. 

I remember pulling up to the birth center and feeling so weird... I had driven up to that same building a hundred times before, but this time it seemed like a brand new place.  It was so exciting!  Ann checked me as soon as we put down our bags, and I was only 2cm dilated.  Noah's head was transverse, which was slowing down the progression of things.  Ann called Dr. Cindy (my chiropractor) and asked her to come do an adjustment in hopes that Noah's head would shift and things would get rollin'.  While we waited on Cindy, Micah and I took a walk around the neighborhood.  I remember stopping during a contraction and squating near the curb while Micah squeezed my hips with his knees.  A sweet old lady poked her head out of her front door and said "Y'all trying to walk that baby out?"  It made me smile, knowing that I was not the first momma she had seen in this same exact situation!

After Cindy arrived and adjusted me, Ann suggested we go back home so I could "try to get some sleep".  I tried so hard to not be discouraged (I had already been in labor for about 12 hours at this point), but I could not help it.  Micah and I agreed that would be best, and we did the walk of shame out of the birth center.  We stopped by Chic-fil-A on the way home to get some lunch (hardly anything was sounding good at the time).  I took a hot bath, climbed in bed to rest,  took another bath, and repeat.  I think I slept a grand total of about 45 minutes that afternoon.  Things slowed down a little after each bath I took, so I knew that we were still a ways away.  My mom came over at some point in the afternoon and heated up something for lunch, but I had a really hard time getting anything down

Part of the "party" watching the World Series
I do not remember how it ended up happening, but we ended up with a little party at our house... My mom was over, Micah's parents were over, Micah's sister was over, and Aaron and Joyce were over.  We had the Wolrd Series on the TV because it was the only thing I could watch without getting confused when I would pause to focus on a contraction!  I am sure it was quite a site to see... all of us sitting around, talking, and a random laboring momma moaning in the background bouncing on the birthing ball! :-)  I was thankful everyone just continued their conversations while I worked through a contraction... and someone (my mom, Micah, or Joyce) would help me work through it.  
Several times during the evening we would, as a group, pause and pray.  Looking back, I realize that I spent too much time in my early labor relying on myself and others instead of the Lord.  I just couldn't let go of control!  Late in the evening I left the living room and climbed into bed... I was SO exhuasted and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.  The pain was getting significanlty more intense, and the noise of everyone there was starting to get irritating.  I do not remember this, but my mom and Mandy started to ask me questions and I did not respond to them... and they started getting nervous.  Micah called Ann and she suggested we go back to the birth center.  I was reluctant because I was afraid of her telling us that I was still not very far along and needed to go BACK home.  I was not sure I could handle another discouragement.  However, they talked me into going.  Micah packed the car as I worked through another contraction and we left for the birth center.  I believe we got there some time around 11:00.

Thursday, November 5

                Dr. Cindy checking on Noah
Ann checked me again upon arrival and I had progressed to 6cm.  I was happy with progress, but having already been in labor for 24 hours, I really wanted to be further along.  Ann encouraged me to get into the tub to get some relief.  YAY!!! I had been looking forward to that for a long time.  It felt great.  While I was in there, Dr. Cindy walked in.  I was a little confused when she pulled out the doplar to check on Noah... then I realized she was going to be Ann's assisting midwife.  I had no idea she would be assisting, and I was SO excited to have her there.  She has a very calm, yet very strong presence about her.  I felt like I really connected with her throughout the 16weeks I visited her to get adujusted, and it was nice to have another smiling face.  I felt a sense of rejuvenation and was ready to roll!  Things started to progress quite a bit while I was in the tub, and I was pretty excited. 
Notice the frozen grapes sitting there         
Ann told my mom to call our photographer, as she felt like things were moving pretty fast.  I could not keep any food down (I started throwing up back at home earlier in the day), but I tried to eat grapes here and there so I could have SOMETHING in my system for energy.  Every time I ate, I threw up.  I wanted ot eat, but throwing up in the middle of a contraction is pretty stinkin uncomfortable, so I mostly just stuck to water and frozen grapes.  I could only eat one or two at a time, but Ann and Dr. Cindy made sure to always have a few sittnig there waiting for me.  Micah was there with me through the contractions, applying counter pressure, holding my hand, pouring water over my back... whatever I needed.  What a strong, comforting husband I have!

Things get pretty blury to me at this point.  I know I got in and out of the tub several times, walked around the birth center, laid in bed, sat on the birthing ball, etc.  However, things were NOT progressing as fast as we once thought.  Most of our family was there, along with Aaron and Joyce, which was a nice distraction every now and then.  Throughout the entire evening, I was constantly prayed over.  I would have a contraction and Cindy would pray for it to be effective.  I would be in pain and Ann would pray for comfort. Aaron and Joyce laid their hands on me.  The Lord was there, and the Lord wanted me to cry out to Him, too!  In the moment, I felt like I had given it all to God.  Looking back, I realize I was trying to control the situation myself.  I remember wondering what *I* was doing wrong for labor to be progressing so slowly.  I thought it was all about me! But, at every moment of discouragement, someone would lift up a prayer.  If this wasn't the Lord just begging me to let it go, I don't know what is!

Around 6am Dr. Cindy had to leave to go be with her sweet little boy so her hubby could come to work.  I was pretty bummed, but also excited for Sarah to be taking her place.  Sarah was Joyce's midwife, and she also taught our child birthing class.  Both Micah and I really liked her, and felt like a fresh mind would be a good thing.  Immediately she asked me to change positions in the bath tub.  I was in a lunge position, and with each contractions I had to lunge forward in a rocking motion.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I hated Sarah at this moment!!  I decided after this little switch-a-roo that I was done with the tub. HA!  Sarah and Ann decided to check me again, and when the did so, they decided to break my water.  It felt SO good!  I felt such a relief of pressure.  They warned me that my contractions would intensify, which was FINE by me if that meant I wouldn't be pregnant anymore!
Sarah continued giving us new positions to try, and I grew more and more exhausted.  I remember barely being able to take more than 3 or 4 steps before having to pause for another contraction.  As I walked past the front door I realized I was seeing the sun was rise... for the SECOND TIME.  I hit rock bottom.  Joyce had a similar labor (30 hours total) and pushed for almost 4 hours... I kept comparing my labor to hers, and I was already at 35 hours of labor.  I knew I could not handle much more.  I started to wonder how much longer they would let me labor before transporting me to the hospital.  Micah walked into the other room for a minute and a contraction crept up on me.  I wasn't ahead of it.  I got on my hands and knees and cried out in pain to the Lord, "Give me strength!!!".   Will all of my heart, and with all of my body, I surrendered everything to the Lord. Almost immediately the contraction was over and I "something" told me Noah would be born within the hour.  "HA! Yeah right," I told this "something".  The last time I had been checked I was only 8cm dilated... and it had taken me 34 hours to get there.  I knew there was no way I could progress another 2cm AND push a baby out in that short period of time. Yet, I held on to a small bit of hope.  I felt a sense of peace and assurance that things would be fine. 
Sarah came in and told me that her an Ann wanted to check me again.  Again, I was afraid of discouragement.  I prayed that the Lord would give me something to cling on to for encouragement... and wow, did He deliver!  Almost immediately I could see Ann and Sarah's facial expressions change.  Ann asked me to lightly push with my next contraction... she could see Noah's head!  I felt an overwhelming surge of energy and strength, and have never felt more alive in my life.  The Lord gave me the exact amount of strength I needed, exactly when I needed it.  I pushed for a grand total of 30 minutes.  After nearly 36 hours of labor, Noah was born at 9:52 and was healthy as can be. 

I look back on that day and can only think about how good God truly is. The birth of your first child is promised to be a special day, regardless of the Lord's involvement.  But, in true Godly fashion, He used this unsuspecting time to make me realize the important of letting God be God and giving him the reigns.  The moment I let down my guard... the moment I truly relied on the Lord for strength KNOWING I could no longer do it on my own, He delivered.  Giving birth to my first child was special, obviously, but it was also such a profound spiritual marker in my Christian journey. 

I never really knew "why" I felt an urge to birth with a midwife at a birthing center.  After researching it, I was convinced it was the best fit for us, but initially I just wanted to do it.  For no true, solid reason.  Looking back, I have no doubt that the Lord was planning this for years!

And with that, I will leave you with some pictures.... sometimes they speak more than words.

Big Boy!!!

Such a happy moment!

My sweet baby boy

Herbal bath

Skyping with my dad in South Africa

Daddy and Noah

I love you, sweet boy!!  I am profoundly grateful for you and love you more than you will ever know!
~The Grant Gang

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Swag Bucks

Have any of you heard of this?  I recently read about Swag Bucks on a blog I read and thought it might be worth a shot... basically, you earn points when you do basic searches through their search engine.  You will randomly receive points for searches (I searched for three different things and got 10 swag bucks on one of the searches.)  You can also shop through their website... from what I understand, you start at, go to shop, then find the store you want to shop at.  When you order from that store (as long as you have linked to it through swagbucks) you will receive 2 swag bucks for every dollar you spend.  After you receive a certain number of points, you can redeem them for Amazon gift cards (and a bunch of other stuff.... but the Amazon cards look most appealing to me!) I am not sure yet how the search engine compares to Google or Yahoo, but it's worth a shot... I signed up today and will keep you updated!

Interested in trying it out for yourself? Click here! It can't hurt. :-)

~The Grant Gang

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Best Yet

Since I have been staying home with Noah, I have really tried to make an effort to match coupons with sales while grocery shopping.  I am not bringing in any cash, but I try my darndest to minimize the cash that I spend.  There are tons of blogs out there like this one and this one that are completely focused on sales and deals and bargains around town that really help when making my grocery lists. On average I save about 50% on my grocery purchases.

I came across this blog this weekend... and it helped me have my highest percentage of savings yet... 84%!!

Total before sales & coupons: $59.02
Money saved w/ coupons & sales: $48.92
Total out of pocket: $9.10

Check out what I got!

The Grant Gang

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I have it pretty good... I have a family who loves on me, friends who live life with me, and a husband who puts up with me.  But recently I have realized how lucky I am to add one more thing to that list... a church that supports and encourages me!

Twice a month the preschool ministry holds Mom Time, a time where mothers of preschool aged children get together, eat lunch, fellowship with one another, and hear a message.  It is always great to sit and chat with my sweet mommy friends and get some encouraging words, but today was especially nice.  Dr. Emily Prevost, a minister that works for the Baptist General Convention, spoke on Sabbath Rest.  Initially I thought this would just be a so-so subject... nothing too special.  Oh, how my sweet Lord loves to catch me off guard!  

I always knew that God commands us to "Honor the Sabbath by keeping it holy."  It fits in there right along with "Honor they mother and father", "Thou shalt not steal", and "Thou shalt not murder".  Those all make sense.  But honestly, I kinda thought this whole Sabbath commandment was kinda old school.  How many people do you know actually REST on the weekend?  For me, the weekend usually means time that I have "back up" (as another mom refered to it as today) and can get things done without a sweet little drool king glued to my hip.  Micah and I normally start off the weekend thinking we do not have much to do and then stop on Sunday night wondering what the heck happened to our "uneventful" weekend.  And, typically, I am anything but rested... I am pretty sure I am no where close to keeping the Sabbath holy.

We, along with the rest of creation, were created to follow along with the natural rhythm of life.  The waves come in, the waves come out.  The sun rises, the sun sets.  The animals rise and search for food, the animals go to sleep.  We, too, were made to follow this rhythm, but we were also the only ones who were given a choice.  We can choose to neglect our need for rest and nourishment (both physical and emotional) and instead feed our need to be constantly DOING.  I am so guilty of this.  I am pretty good at getting my sleep... for those of you that know me, I am pretty much useless without it.  However, I often neglect the need to get spiritual and emotional rest.  I do, do, do... then sleep... then do, do, do all over again.  I forget to set time aside to spend time with those that I love, to have quiet time with my sweet Jesus, and to be still.  If I lay down to take a nap, I spend the first 30 minutes of my "nap" thinking about all the things I should be doing instead.  If I sit down with my Bible, I find myself half way down the page not having a clue of what I have just read and making a grocery list in my head. I can't turn it off!

The more I heard Emily talk, the more envious I became of her understanding of the spiritual discipline of keeping the Sabbath holy.  Unrepentive naps.  Ceasing. Worshiping.  Fellowship.  Feasting.  Playing.  Doesn't all of that sound heavenly?! It sounds like such a luxury!  But then I realized, God wants us to be able to enjoy all the gifts He has given us, and I can't sit still long enough to do so.  He wants us to rest so that we can be healthy and able to do His work.  He wants us to give Him our worries for once and not try to control life.  He wants us enjoy fellowship with one another... laughing, playing, and talking.  He wants us to eat and feast and fuel up for the work He has planned for us. But, if we are too busy or too tired or to stressed to even be still, we will never enjoy these gifts.  One day a week, God asks us to just take a step back and appreciate all that He is and all that He has done. 
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Matthew 11:28-30, THE MESSAGE

I am encouraged.  I feel refreshed just THINKING about a day of rest.  I want Noah to know what it is like to be feel like it is OK to take a break from the stress of life to laugh... to play... and to give thanks to God for His creation. 

~The Grant Gang